Skip to main content

Housing: South West

Volume 471: debated on Monday 28 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he will set up the Rural Housing Challenge Fund through the Housing Corporation to build public housing in rural areas of South West England; and if he will make a statement. (182077)

The Department for Communities and Local Government is providing £8.4 billion over the three-year period 2008-11 for affordable housing. This underlines the Government’s commitment to tackling difficulties faced by those unable to afford a home. Regional allocations reflect the advice of the regional assemblies (and the Mayor of London) on priorities for their areas.

In the South West, a budget of £241 million has been allocated for 2008-09, an increase of 25 per cent. on the 2007-08 budget. This includes funding for local authority Decent Homes and private sector renewal in urban and rural areas. How much of this is spent on housing in rural communities is determined by the regional assembly, in consultation with local authorities, with ministerial agreement.

As part of its preparations for the comprehensive spending review (CSR) during the summer of 2007, DEFRA asked the Housing Corporation to provide advice on the feasibility of a potential revenue funding programme to support improvements in local capacity and delivery of affordable housing across rural England. That advice will be carefully considered in decisions about departmental spending priorities over the CSR period. No decisions about the fund have yet been made. We are currently finalising the Department’s overall funding package and an announcement will be made shortly.